With their fifth consecutive NL East title already clinched, the Philadelphia Phillies need two more wins to reach the century mark for just the third time ever, and the first in 34 years.
They could earn their 100th win as soon as Tuesday if they sweep a day-night doubleheader of the visiting Washington Nationals.
Philadelphia (98-54) has clinched the division crown and home-field advantage throughout the postseason. The Phillies are now approaching their first 100-win season since 1977, when they matched the club record of 101 set the previous year.
A sweep of the twinbill appears a real possibility, given that Philadelphia has taken 25 of its last 30 home matchups with the Nationals (72-79) including four of five this season.
However, the Phillies have dropped six of 10 overall, scoring three runs or fewer in nine of those contests including a 4-3 loss to St. Louis on Monday.
“We came out a little flat, but that’s not going to last,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “We’ll be ready.”
Should Manuel’s club win the opener, they’d be in good shape to earn their 100th victory in the nightcap with Cliff Lee(notes) (16-7, 2.38 ERA) on the mound. The left-hander is 7-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his last nine starts - all Philadelphia victories.
Lee didn’t get a decision despite an excellent performance in Thursday’s 2-1, 10-inning win over Florida. He struck out 12 while allowing one run and five hits in nine innings before Ryan Howard’s(notes) walkoff double clinched a doubleheader sweep of the Marlins.
“As long as we win,” said Lee, who is 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA in four career starts against Washington.
For the second time in six days, Lee will be preceded in a doubleheader by Kyle Kendrick(notes) (8-6, 3.22). The right-hander yielded one run and two hits in five innings of a 3-1 win over the Marlins on Thursday, his first appearance since Aug. 24 after spending time on paternity leave.
Kendrick is 1-1 with a 6.92 ERA in six games - five starts - against the Nationals.
The Nationals are trying to win a fifth consecutive road game for the first time since May 31-June 5, 2006. They regained some overall momentum Sunday, preventing a three-game sweep by Florida at home by winning 4-3.
Washington is tied with the Mets for third in the East. The Nationals haven’t finished that high in the standings since 2002, when they came in second as the Montreal Expos.
“As long as you’re moving in the right direction, you’re making progress,” reliever Tyler Clippard(notes) told the team’s official website. “That’s what this organization has been doing the past three years. It’s fun to be a part of it, and I think everyone is getting excited.”
While the Nationals have won four straight on the road, scheduled Game 1 starter Ross Detwiler(notes) (2-5, 3.76) has never won there. The left-hander is 0-9 with a 4.76 ERA in 18 road games, 12 of them starts. That includes an 0-2 record and 4.91 ERA in three games - two starts - at Philadelphia.
Overall, Detwiler is 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA in five career meetings with the Phillies.
He’ll take the mound for the first time since not getting a decision in a 3-2 win at New York on Sept. 12. He tossed five scoreless innings before being pulled with two outs in the sixth after allowing two runs.
Tommy Milone(notes) (1-0, 4.60) will face the Phillies for the first time in the nightcap. The rookie left-hander yielded one run and three hits in 5 2-3 innings Thursday to earn his first career win, a 10-1 victory over the Mets.
He’s failed to complete six innings in any of his three starts.